As a young man I occasionally played the Space Invaders computer game, that simple computer game where one tries to escape and shoot ugly looking invaders from the space. The reason why to play was not clear to me at that time, but now I understand the value of the game: it was a crucial learning element towards the modern society that I call avoidance economy. We live nowadays in avoidance economy, where being able to avoid different things is a key skill, competency and resource.
As a simple first example, take direct dialogue campaigning, made for example by Greenpeace and many other organizations. If you in city settings want to proceed without delays, and avoid being brain-washed and finally cashed out of your money, avoidance skills are crucial.In tourism, especially in big cities, a key skill is to know what place to avoid and what not. This already is true when you plan for your next tourism destination: the key is to know which places to avoid because of various reasons: social turmoil, diseases, environmental catastrophes, terrorism, criminality,corruption.
If you take a look at any media, you hear the stories of citizen doing avoidance actions. Things to avoid are plenty. To favorites of the big audience belong issues such as dogshit, fast bikers or in-line skaters, youngsters sitting on the park benches, any sources of noise, smell or light. Even such a natural thing as weather is to be avoided: some avoid sun, some try to avoid rain.
The Internet is a massive playfield of avoidance. A seemingly harmless pressing of a hyperlink, forgetting the avoidance mindset, can immediately take you to problems: to aggressive marketing sites, unwanted downloads, porn, rubbish mail, you name it… The whole Internet surfing experience is one of constant avoidance struggle. This is also true in the case of e-mail: it ought to make things easy and fast to perform, but most of your time goes to dodging rubbish e-mails.
The ultimate symbol of the avoidance economy is the distance control device of the television set. Its main function is to avoid unwanted program, mainly and usually advertisements. However, in the current time of programming quality, commercial advertisements are often the best and most diligently provided programs commercial television can offer.
In work surroundings, especially office environment, avoidance is a key skill. All the time your effective work is harmed by someone hanging on your door or on the corridor, unless you are constantly actively on the avoidance mode. In coffee corners and other public places many actors are waiting for a possibility to rob your time and attention towards for you marginal issues, and avoidance skills are again asked for.
I’m adjusting my view on computer games. Even when I do not understand their function at the moment, I’m now sure that playing them would train me to some future challenges that I can at the moment not see. So keep on playing.
The whole act of eating and drinking, including shopping for food and drinks, is one big art of avoidance. Things to avoid are many, and new emerge all the time. Avoid too much or too little water, salt, sugar, e-codes, fat, spices, too well or too little done food – the list is endless. Instead of an act of enjoyment, eating has become an act of avoidance.
In total, by now you should be well aware that avoidance is a key skill in modern society. We live in an intensive avoidance economy, which scientific roots, structures and functions wait for our (scientific) attention and the results of that.